Nevada Public Radio Listen Live

"BBC's World Service"
Facebook Twitter Follow Nevada Public Radio

Support Nevada Public Radio
September 23, 2004

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Staking Out Some Steaks


Maybe all those polyunsaturated Omega 3 acids have me soft in the head, or maybe I'm just growing soft in my old age, but I've had some pretty outstanding steaks lately that all rate a wave. So props to Prime, ditto Delmonico, and way to go Smith and Wollensky....because I'm still recallin' their boffo beef and pulchritudinous pork.

One of the reasons you see so many steakhouses in America, is our insatiable appetite for beef 'n 'taters. It's also because the template for these temples of excess insures profits. Anyone whose ever worked in the food biz knows that waste and spoilage can spoil the bottom line faster that a breakout of botulism. And nothing keeps longer in the larder than steak and spuds. And here's another steakhouse secret: cooks who can turn a t-bone are much easier to find than those who can properly filet a flounder or handle a hollandaise.

Asians and Europeans think our fondness for huge slabs of steer muscle is barbaric, and usually I think they've got a point. Now tell the truth; aren't you a little embarrassed to be served a three inch thick piece of meat that hangs over your plate along with a two pound potato and pine tree-sized asparagus that would choke a horse? I mean I was just a little red-faced when the crackling pork shank -as big as a softball-- was placed before me-- at Smith and Wollensky.

This bronzed beauty could easily feed four, but after one bite, my embarrassment was banished. Sitting atop some caraway slaw and doused with some firey applesauce (with fresh chiles discreetly placed in the condiment jar), this superior shank just might be the apotheosis of pork.....

Just as the dry-aged strip with a sweet tomato glaze AND horseradish cream at Delmonico was a stunner. Now I'm the first to criticize Emeril for too many ingredients, too much fat, and too much 'bam' in his recipes-subtlety is not his strong suit-- but there's no denying that this steak, and steakhouse still competes with the best anywhere. Just a word to the wise, watch your ordering here or you'll be filled up after your appetizer, leaving precious room for the superior steaks and the perfect (and intensely cocoanutty), cocoanut cream pie.

Romance and steak don't usually go cheek to jowl, but for a bite of upscale sirloin, amidst one of the most seductive dining rooms anywhere, I still prefer Prime. And for frugal gourmets, the Patio at Prime gives you a front row seat for the Bellagio's water show while you tuck into some tasty tartare, or sashimi grade tuna ribbons in ponzu sauce. These amazing starters and salads will make you feel like high rollin' lothario without the 3 figure tariff.

It'll be interesting to see how the soon to open Capital Grill competes with these kings of cholesterol as a Mecca for meat.

See discussion rules.


Nov 24, 2010 | Thanksgiving 2010 - Another Beanie Reveal
John Curtas delves into family history to discover the real story behind Grandma Schroader's Sour Beans.

Nov 19, 2009 | Valentino -- You don't know the truffles I've seen
According to Food Critic John Curtas, no other Italian restaurant in Las Vegas has performed at such a high level for so long.

Oct 1, 2009 | Blow It Up
In at least one part of town, our dining critic John Curtas says the food used to be a lot better.

Sep 25, 2009 | Social Media Meltdown
For our dining critic, John Curtas, social media has started to intrude on dining out.

Sep 2, 2009 | Discovering LOS ANTOJOS
Our dining critic John Curtas finds a new affordable favorite.

Aug 20, 2009 | Chinois R.I.P.
For John Curtas the recent closing of Wolfgang Puck's first Las Vegas restaurant brings back memories.

Aug 3, 2009 | Food, Inc.
John Curtas turns movie reviewer today - but the subject is in his usual area of expertise. Hear his review of "Food, Inc."

Jul 16, 2009 | The Steak That Saved Las Vegas
Dining critic John Curtas finds some steak aged for EIGHT MONTHS and he tells us how it tastes.

Jul 2, 2009 | Bang for Your Buck
Everyone's food budget is tighter these days. But if you still want to dine out now and then, our dining critic John Curtas has a few tips on restaurants now giving you more bang for your buck.

Jun 19, 2009 | Whassup with Wazuzu
Explore Dining Critic John Curtas' love/hate relationship with Wazuzu. If you want to spice up your dinner go for at least a "4 or 5."

Jun 12, 2009 | Two Farmer's Markets
Fresh, locally produced food has become a big trend across the U.S. Our food critic, John Curtas, says there's more of this trend in Las Vegas than you might think.

Jun 4, 2009 | MandM Soul Food
John Curtas tells us about one of his favorite dining spots - a surpsingly affordable one.

May 28, 2009 | Checkpoint Charlie
While fine dining has seen a downturn in Las Vegas in recent months, our dining critic John Curtas says at least one dining legend intends to stay put. Charlie Trotter is standing pat in Las Vegas. John Curtas reviews Resturant Charlie.

May 8, 2009 | Food Festival Frenzy!
It's a time of many food festivals in Las Vegas. John Curtas has an overview.

May 5, 2009 | Peppermill Coffee Shop and Fireside Lounge
A landmark Las Vegas restaurant gets a visit from John Curtas. He takes you to the Peppermill.

Apr 23, 2009 | Thai Me Up Thai Me Down
Thai cuisine is starting to show up in more places in Las Vegas. John Curtas has some recommendations

Apr 9, 2009 | A Gourmet Corner - In Spring Valley?
Food Critic John Curtas takes a trip to the strangest gourmet corner in town.

Apr 2, 2009 | Pip's is a Pip
If you're looking for good dining near Aliante, our dining critic, John Curtas, has found a new place to go.

Mar 26, 2009 | Stripped to Its Bare Essentials
Dining on steak at Planet Hollywood! John Curtas takes you along.

Mar 19, 2009 | Hachi is absolutely amazing!
John Curtas has a find - a Japanese-fusion restaurant on the west edge of the city.

Web hosting facilities provided by Switch.